Regents Unanimously Approve Chancellor Cigarroa’s Vision For UT System


“I need your support. I need your confidence. And I need the authority to accomplish the important work ahead.”

With these pointed words, UT System chancellor Francisco Cigarroa concluded a major address this morning to what has at times seemed a skeptical if not outright hostile Board of Regents.

At the regents’ request, the chancellor outlined his grand vision for the UT System, including the flagship, UT-Austin, and unveiled what he described as a new system of analytics that would help measure the System’s progress toward that vision.

It comes at a time of great uncertainty for higher education in Texas. In recent weeks, speculation has been rampant that the UT System Board of Regents, at the behest of the governor, were considering drastic changes that run counter to the traditional values of elite teaching and research universities.

The chancellor and UT president Bill Powers have resisted many of these reforms, and their jobs have been reported as in jeopardy at several points. On Monday, President Powers gave a similar address to the UT-Austin community. Today came the chancellor’s turn.

I’m tempted to try to summarize his speech, but it is well worth reading in full below.

Afterward, the chancellor received a standing ovation, and the regents unanimously approved a motion supporting his vision and leadership.

Hopefully, the recent days of acrimony and uncertainty between the regents, students, alumni, and UT-Austin are over.

UPDATE: After the regents meeting, a group of UT alumni, including Texas Exes president Richard Leshin, issued a statement applauding the regents for supporting the chancellor’s vision. Here it is:

AUSTIN, TX— “At a time of considerable concern and controversy about higher education, we applaud and thank the Board of Regents of the University of Texas for unanimously supporting our Chancellor and endorsing his vision for advancing excellence, innovation and the highest quality in higher education, including his strong confidence in the System’s Presidents. We especially applaud the Regents’ unanimous endorsement of the Chancellor’s imperatives that teaching and scholarly research go hand in hand in ‘a university of the first class,’ that the recommendations of the Commission of 125 should be followed, that faculty members should be evaluated both through peer review and student input, and that universities simply cannot be micromanaged.”

Richard Leshin, Texas Exes, President

Pat Oles, Chairman, Executive Committee, UT Chancellors Council

Melinda Perrin, Former Chairman, UT Development Board

Kenneth M. Jastrow, II, Chairman, UT Capital Campaign

Gordon Appleman, Former President, Texas Exes

Ambassador Pamela Willeford, Former Chairman, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Photo courtesy of the Texas Tribune (that’s me behind the chancellor and Chairman Gene Powell)

Advancing Excellence Across the UT System



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